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No consensus yet.
All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (11)
| Fresh (26)
| Rotten (2)
Staff Benda Bilili's unlikely triumph is an epic feat, with or without anyone's help.
From out of the gloom comes the hypnotic grooves of a band called Staff Benda Bilili. The name means "look beyond appearances," and the members of this remarkable musical collective do just that.
Benda Belili! reminds us that we need to look beyond The X Factor to discover musical talent that strikes a deeper chord.
"Benda Bilili!" earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
"Benda Bilili!" is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.
This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.
Any time spent with Ricky is time well spent.
Benda Bilili! is one of those overpoweringly redemptive stories that would be dismissed as sentimental wish-dream fiction if it weren't real.
The music speaks volumes about who they are and where they come from.
The tenacity of the homeless musicians in bringing their music to life, with the filmmakers' help, is an inspiration.
...engrossing, often funny and always danceable. If you think you've got problems, watch what this extremely disadvantaged group of people are able to make of their lives and be humbled.
Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye's documentary falters by adopting too much of a celebratory tone.
Superlative and incredibly moving music doc. Review soon.
Set during a dark time, ''Benda Bilili'' manages to be one of the most uplifting films of 2011. Even though this documentary is set during a very dark time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the filmmakers bring light to the film by showing us the achievements of the group of musicians the filmmakers follow. It is a fascinating journey that shows us just how much can be achieved with so little. One of 2011's best so far.
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